At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Cynthia Lewis was an exceptionally generous person. She found great happiness putting the needs of others ahead of her own and lived a life of selflessly giving of her time and resources to help those in need. A natural lover of all people, those who were close to her were blessed by her warm spirit and gentle ways. A wonderful soul, there is no doubt that she will be deeply missed will be fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
Cynthia’s story begins in the year of 1940. The effects of the Great Depression were finally beginning to ease, yet there was strife in Europe when Germany invaded France. The nation was optimistic leaving the depression which led to the release of major motion pictures and a boom in the jazz music industry. FDR was elected for a third term and most Americans were starting to believe they should help Britain in its fight for survival with Germany leading to the first peacetime draft. Robert Arthur and Esther Louise (Belt) Barnes were overjoyed to welcome home their newborn daughter, Cynthia on May 6th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her birth brought much happiness to her parents.
Cynthia grew up with a set of hard-working parents who instilled in her the importance of family from a young age. Close with her grandfather as a young child, she often shared many happy memories from her childhood. Known to spend nearly every holiday with her extended family in southwest Michigan and Indiana, Cynthia knew the back country roads to their homes by heart! Born with a natural ability to find compassion in the hearts of others, it was no surprise that when she graduated from high school she went on to pursue a degree in psychology from Kalamazoo College. Cynthia spent a lifetime caring for others. She held nothing but the deepest desire to help others and ease their troubles. Her degree opened up many doors and opportunities for her over the years.
Sadly, her father, who was a local butcher in town passed away suddenly in 1972 changing her life forever. Cynthia became exceptionally close to their mother and was her primary caregiver until she also passed away. These experiences led Cynthia on a path of caring for others who were facing many obstacles and challenges. She spent several years working with Community Living Options, a local rehabilitation clinic, caring for the residents. Cynthia was well loved by all of her co-workers as well as the resident’s family members. They knew they could trust her to give their loved ones the very best of care. She often left no leaf unturned in helping to find them the very best of resources within the community.
Caring for others was Cynthia’s greatest legacy. When anyone needed support or help with a loved one, they often reached to Cynthia as they knew that they would have her unending commitment and compassion as they made the difficult decisions for their loved ones. There truly wasn’t anyone more authentically giving than Cynthia. No greater testimony of a loving friendship was the selfless act of remaining in a close relationship with her dear friend, Claudia Heersma Schrock’s children when she passed away. Cynthia kept her promise that she would take care of them and support them in the years ahead. She couldn’t replace their mother’s presence and love yet she was the next best person in line to guide them on their journey without her. They are forever thankful for her caring and nurturing them throughout the years.
Although she rarely took any time for herself, Cynthia enjoyed many simple pleasures in life. She enjoyed reading to her heart’s content and especially loved to find a good bargain. Often window gazing in the little shops in local beach towns, Cynthia looked for bargains on antiques and craft supplies. Cynthia was especially close with her cousin, Leigh and her best friend, Sarah Doezema. They loved to get together for dinners out or time strolling the town of South Haven. She was a loyal friend and companion over the years often lending her listening ear and added a sense of peace to any situation. Her passion for people rarely left her at home, yet when she was home she loved to spend time with her furry companions, her loving cats, Ralph and then Mollie after Ralph died. Cynthia leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories. Her dry sense of humor and her charismatic personality will be greatly missed by her many special friends and loved ones. Each time they find a good bargain at a local business or take in an extraordinary Michigan sunset may they be touched by her warm embrace from Heaven.
Cynthia Lewis, age 78, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, died on Friday, February 15, 2019. She was a life-long resident of the community she loved and worked at the Community Living Options for several years. Members of her family include her cousins, Leigh (Dave) Feltes Munn, Ross (Carol) Feltes, Anita Cassidy, Don Barnes, Darla (Bob) Barnes Smith and her best friend, Sarah Kingery-Doezema. Cremation has taken place and an open house to celebrate her life will be held on from 2-4 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Cynthia’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to SPCA of SW Michigan.